THE CUSTOMERWe are partner of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) acting on behalf of its executive agencies: the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), Natural England (NE) and the Forestry Commission (FC).
Defra controls the overall delivery of the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), paying out in excess of £2 billion in subsidies each year to farmers, traders and landowners to support a thriving farming and food sector in England.
THE NEED FOR INNOVATIONSince 2012, Defra had been working with the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, with support from Government Digital Services, to replace the previous IT system.
The replacement solution was intended to deliver a new, EU approved Integrated Administrative and Control System (IACS) to process and make Direct and Rural Development payments to claimants in line with the EU regulations reducing exposure to financial penalties whilst adapting to the increased complexity of the new CAP.
THE ABACO SOLUTION
Following a competitive tendering process, ABACO became Defra’s strategic partner in 2013 taking the role of lead supplier within a multi-supplier environment. ABACO quickly established itself as a standing member of several, senior governance boards. ABACO was tasked with bringing innovation on how things could be implemented differently or adapted whilst meeting the EU regulations. ABACO were able to achieve this through the ABACO platform, implementing EU compliant Farm Registry, Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS), Geospatial Aid Application, Integrated Control System, and Payment Calculation functionalities.
Working alongside RPA colleagues as a strategic delivery partner, ABACO were able to use their extensive knowledge of CAP payments to support the delivery of political, legal and financial commitments to English claimants.
Defra achieved its targets, making accurate payments to many claimants months earlier than they historically had and achieving a record number of online applications whilst driving an overall reduction in disallowance.
The project was considered to be a ‘digital exemplar’ as part of the Cabinet Office Transformation Programme.
In light of the UK leaving the European Union and the Government confirming that the rural community will continue to benefit from these payment services, ABACO has been awarded a new 3 year contract to support Defra’s critical requirements for agricultural transition in England.